Jordy Mercer, shortstop, Pittsburgh Pirates
.256/.329/.378, 11 home runs, 57 RBIs
Mercer and the Pirates won’t qualify for what would be their fourth consecutive postseason. Despite the disappointment, the 30-year old shortstop posted a much-needed bounce back season. Mercer’s offensive numbers this season are on par with what the Pirates expect from him: home runs in the low teens, good strikeout-to-walk ratio and the ability to extend the lineup from the No. 8 spot. With a weak shortstop free agent class this upcoming offseason, and no prospects near MLB ready , Mercer shouldn’t have to worry about losing his starting job in 2017.
Koda Glover, relief pitcher, Washington Nationals
4.26 ERA, 15 Strikeouts, .171 Opponent Batting Average
Glover’s bid to make the postseason roster became more convincing after he pitched two scoreless innings Monday against the Marlins. The 23-year old overpowered a potent Marlins offense and kept the game close. Glover has stuck around in the big leagues after being called up in late July to help bolster a fatigued bullpen. With an explosive fastball and impeccable control, the young right-hander may be used to bridge to three-time All-Star closer Mark Melancon.
Robin Ventura, manager, Chicago White Sox
72-78, 14.5 GB
Ventura is under contract to be Chicago’s manager for just two more weeks. With no obvious overall team improvement, the skipper’s time in Chicago may be all but over. The White Sox have a disappointing .446 winning percentage over the last four years, despite having a talented rotation and All-Star sluggers. Ventura’s legacy as a White Sox player-turned-coach will be tainted by his inability to translate his baseball excellence on the field to the dugout.
John Farrell, manager, Boston Red Sox
86-64, four-game lead in the AL East
Farrell and the Red Sox are playing like the best team in baseball right now. They swept the Yankees for the first time in a four-game series since 1990 and opened up a comfortable four-game lead in the AL East. It seems like every week a different Red Sox hitter goes on a torrid hitting streak. The biggest question mark of the team for much of the season has been the bullpen and its inability to keep the ballgame close in a tight match. Throw all of that doubt out the window because the Red Sox bullpen has been impressive with a 0.94 ERA in 47 2/3 innings pitched. The Red Sox are clicking on all cylinders and are the hottest team heading into the postseason.